The Price Of Ecstasy

Focuses on a study on the mental impact of the Ecstasy drug. Details on how the study was carried out; Results of other related studies.

By Marjorie Centofanti, published on September 1, 2000 - last reviewed on January 23, 2015

The party may be over for marijuana and Ecstasy users: In several
studies, scientists have weeded out the popular drugs' mental impact and
found nothing to rave about.

In the one study, published in the Journal of Neurology,
Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, Euphrosyne Gouzoulis-Mayfrank, M.D., a
psychiatrist at the University of Technology in Germany, put 28 Ecstasy
users through tests on a range of mental abilities. While users were as
mentally alert as non-users, they fared far worse on measures of memory,
learning and general intelligence. The more frequently they took Ecstasy,
the worse they did. This is likely because Ecstasy alters neuronal
function in a brain structure called the hippocampus, which helps create
short-term memory.

In two other studies, published in NeuroReport, scientists at the
University of Iowa took PET (positron emission tomography) scans of
marijuana users' heads and found that activity in the cerebellum--the
brain area that coordinates movement and Is key to awareness of
time--seems to slow when smoking pot. "Having an underactive cerebellum
could upset the way the brain processes information," says researcher
Robert Block, Ph.D., which may hinder one's ability to learn new